Local developer Bob Herkenhoff asks Polk County to consider hydrology study

Jess Bengtson
Crookston Times

    Local developer Bob Herkenhoff approached the Polk County Board of Commissioners this week to request they do a hydrology study in the area where County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 11/Fisher Avenue was just reconstructed because he says he has concerns for future water issues there due to the road height and culvert size.

    Herkenhoff says prior to design of the project he met with the Commissioners, Polk County Highway engineer Rich Sanders and Widseth engineer Rich Clausen about those issues plus water flow, and mentioned in a public document that he feels the elevation of the road was lowered and the culvert that drains towards his development had previously been a 28-inch culvert and was increased to a 60-inch culvert.

    “That is 4.5 greater volume of water,” he wrote. “I believe a hydrology study should have been completed before this job was designed and built.”

    “I developed my land in the last seven years,” he added in his document. “I currently have several new lots available for sale along with the homes that have already been built as part of my development. My concern is with future water issues that may arise because of the changes made in culvert size and the lowering of the road height.”

    During the meeting, Sanders said the culverts under the road at CSAH 11 have always been 60 inches and when it came time to design the new project they “put back in what was there.”

    “One (culvert) was deteriorating and watershed said we had to keep it to a 60 inch so that’s what we did,” Sanders explained, adding that it wasn’t up to the highway department to change culvert sizes and elevations.

    Sanders touched on a rural section of the road that was turned into an urban section and some areas like Barrette Street, St. Mary’s and Evergreen that drain into their road and storm sewer instead of draining back into the developments.

    “There’s nothing out there that would affect Bob’s property,” Sanders added. “The only thing we did to his property was make it better.”

    Herkenhoff clarified that he wasn’t upset with Sanders and thought the highway department did a nice job on the road.

    “It’s a beautiful road, it’s good; it’s just the water that concerns me,” said Herkenhoff, reiterating that he’d like the county to consider a hydrology study.

    “We can argue back and forth of where this water is going, but we’re not experts and that’s why we need a hydrology study,” he added, suggesting the county consider hiring Blake Carlson from Widseth.